Joan Colby

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Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”  Facebook posting 2-2-2013

They were bored in EdenArtwork by Gene McCormick
Feasting on peaches, strawberries,
Grapes and hyacinths, anything
Was feasible and therefore boring.

She kept visiting the crooked tree
Where the snake coiled in its
Hermitage. He told her it was
Forbidden, this kind of knowledge.
He told her that their naked bodies
Were perfect, that if they just fucked more
They wouldn’t be bored.  But she

Had a different vision. Her mouth
Watered at the notion of apples, round,
Crimson, succulent. The snake said
Have a taste and once she did she wanted
More and more, the whole vast world beyond
The gates.  He let her feed him

Apples when she promised
Exotic sexual pleasures. Listen,
There were no dogs in Eden.
They were out there in the wilderness
And they were hungry.



Menacing as a monk
At the Inquisition,
The secular arm extended
With a torch to light
The faggots beneath the feet
Of the unabsolved.

The peasant uprising,
Red hoods and pitchforks,
Advancing on the palace
Of improprieties. Their cadenced
Slogans and blunt faces
Dark with resolution.

Slinking midnight avenues
In twos or threes,
Hunched, stony
With intent.
Settling next to you,
Dozing fitfully,
In the last subway car
On its final run.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 10 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest book from Future Cycle Press—“Dead Horses.” FutureCycle will also publish “Selected Poems” in 2013.